Baked Brie with apricot jam.
Do you taste what I'm getting at here?
The juxtaposition of sweet and savory/salty isn't some surprising new trend. Roast meats have long been served with a sweet accompaniment: applesauce with pork, mint jelly with lamb, chutney with roast chicken.
But the sweet/salty/savory combo in baking is a bit more unusual. And it's often a base sweet that's served with a savory/salty condiment. Witness the oh-so-trendy caramels (or chocolate) with sea salt.
Or one of my favorite treats, Salty-Sweet Butter Pecan Cookies.
Personally, I've wondered for several years why Kettle Brand chips or some other "with it" chip manufacturer hasn't come out with a salty-sweet potato chip. I mean, french fries and ketchup are basically salty/sweet; why not just take your basic salted chip and add a touch of crunchy sugar?
NO ONE listens to meeeeee...
If the potato chip equivalent of kettle corn sounds good to you, then you're definitely into these seemingly opposing flavors playing nicely together.
And I bet you won't be afraid to try this Sausage and Apple Pie.
We all love apple pie, right? And who doesn't enjoy breakfast sausage?
So it's just a small step to combine these two bold flavors in a flaky, buttery crust, and see what happens.
My opinion? These guys make beautiful music together. Especially when you add a sweet/buttery topping (think brown-sugar cured bacon).
Ready to cast aside any lingering doubts and take the apple-sausage plunge?
Let's do it.
First step: Cook 1 pound of breakfast sausage until it's nice and brown. Transfer the cooked sausage to some paper towels to drain and cool, and pour off most of the fat, leaving just a sheen in the pan. Set the pan aside for now; you'll come back to it.
Next, the crust; I'm making a simple butter crust here. For a cheddar cheese version, follow along on the recipe page.
Whisk together 2 1/2 cups (10 1/2 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour and 1 teaspoon salt.
Add 8 tablespoons cold butter, working it in until the mixture is crumbly.
Divide the mixture in half. Add 1/2 cup brown sugar to one half; this will be the topping.
Squeeze the remaining crust mixture into a cohesive ball, dribbling in a tablespoon or so of ice water if necessary to bring the dough together. Shape the ball into a disk. Place it in the fridge to chill and relax while you prepare the apples.
Start with about 2 pounds of apples, which is about 5 medium, or 4 large.
Peel, core, and slice the apples; an apple peeler/corer/slicer makes quick work of this task. You want about 6 cups of apples, more or less; don't be fussy.
Transfer the apples to the pan in which you fried the sausage, and add the following:
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup (227g) apple cider or apple juice, or substitute 1/4 cup (57g) boiled cider + 3/4 cup (170g) water
1/2 cup (92g) brown sugar
Cook the sliced apples for 15 minutes, or until the apples are tender and the liquid is syrupy.
While the apples are cooking, go back to your pie crust.
Start preheating your oven to 425°F.
Roll the chilled crust about 12 1/2" diameter. If it's been in the fridge longer than 30 minutes or so, you may need to let it warm a bit; it should be fairly easy to roll, not stiff and unforgiving.
Place the crust in a 9" pie pan. Crimp the edges of the pastry to make a nice-looking rim.
By the way, see how raggedy my crust is when I roll it out? This is kind of a hallmark of a high-fat crust; it's tender, and tends to split around the edges.
But, who cares? Once it's in the pan, it's easy to patch any holes, and turn those ragged edges into something passably pretty.
OK, back to the apples.
See how the liquid is so bubbly that the bottom of the pan is showing in spots? That means the apples are ready.
Stir the cooked sausage into the apples...
...then spoon the filling into the crust.
Top with the brown sugar crumb topping.
Set the pie pan on a parchment- or foil-lined baking sheet, to catch any potential drips.
Bake the pie for 15 minutes, then lower the oven heat to 375°F and bake for an additional 35 to 45 minutes, until the crust is very brown. If the crust appears to be browning too quickly, tent it lightly with foil.
Remove the pie from the oven. Both crust and crumb topping should be golden brown.
The filling should be bubbling up through the crumb crust in spots.
Let the pie cool for 30 minutes or so before serving; it'll be pretty messy if you don't give the soft apples a chance to set up a bit.
So, what do you think – are you willing to give this pie a try? I usually served it at brunch, and even the reluctant tasters go back for more.
Now, for those of you who like to print out the recipe from our recipe site, and compare it to the blog pictures, you're out of luck: while the blog matches the recipe's filling, the crust is different. The crust I've just shown you is detailed in the "tips from our bakers" section of the recipe, though, so you can follow along there.
Please read, bake, and review our recipe for Sausage and Apple Pie.